International Scholar Relations

Prospective Scholars

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.    

~Albert Einstein   


Greetings Prospective Scholars!

Please read information on this page carefully. It is a brief overview about the J-1 Program as sponsored by WesternU.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsorship operates under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State, Office of Designation, Academic and Government Programs Division. The purpose of the J-1 Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges in a mutual effort to promote world peace.

Exchange Visitor Eligibility

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is very specific with regard to the requirements, which must be met by applicants to qualify for the exchange visitor (J) visa. The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa. Applicants must demonstrate that they properly meet the requirements to be issued an exchange visitor visa, including the following:

  • That they plan to remain in the U.S. for a temporary, specific, limited period;

  • That they can provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover expenses while in the United States;

  • That they can provide evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and other binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.

  • That they have demonstrated sufficient English language proficiency.
  • That they  have secured health insurance that meets the minimum levels of coverage per Department of State and Department of Homeland Security regulations.

Program Sponsorship

The U.S. Department of State designates sponsors to administer individual International Scholar programs. Sponsors are U.S. organizations such as government agencies, academic institutions, educational and cultural organizations, and corporations. Western University of Health Sciences is one such sponsor.

Sponsors offer International Scholar cross-cultural activities that will expose exchange visitors to American society, culture, and institutions. International Scholars are encouraged to voluntarily participate in activities that provide them with an opportunity to share their language, culture, and history with Americans.

Each J-1 Program Sponsor has a specific description under which that program must operate with the assistance of designated individual(s) of the University staff who are responsible for the administration of that particular J-1 program. This page will provide you with general information about the J-1 scholar status to help you understand the benefits and responsibilities of this J-1 status. All questions or concerns regarding our J-1 Program should be directed to the office of ISR at WesternU.

J-1 Categories

WesternU has been approved to bring International Scholars to the University in the following categories:

A professor or research scholar may be authorized to participate in an International Scholar Program for the length of time necessary to complete the program providing the program does not exceed five years.

A J-1 specialist may be authorized to participate in the International Scholar Program for the length of time needed to complete the program, which may not exceed one year.

A J-1 short term scholar is limited to a maximum of six months.

We are not authorized for the J-1 student visa!

J-1 Responsible Officer (RO) & Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO)

The RO/ARO have been appointed to advise and assist visiting scholars. These officers issue the Form DS-2019, and conduct official communications with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) on behalf of the J-1 visitor. Should the J-1 visitor have questions about the regulations or any aspect of the exchange program, the initial and primary contact is the J-1 RO or ARO. 

Maintaining J-1 Status

As a J-1 visiting scholar at Western University, you will have been admitted to the U.S. for a specific period of time to engage in a particular research or teaching activity, as described on your DS-2019 form. You must take care during your stay to maintain lawful J-1 status, as failure to do so can have serious long-term consequences for you. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your stay in the U.S. remains valid:

  • Be aware of the expiration date of your program and status in SEVIS. This is not your visa expiration date; it is the ending date in section 3 of your DS-2019 form. If your appointment at the University is extended, the hiring department must contact the J-1 RO/ARO before the current expiration date to have the DS-2019 form extended as well.

  • Do not accept unauthorized employment. The only activity you are permitted is the one described in section 4 of the DS-2019 form. You must consult the J-1 RO/ARO  (J1Program@westernu.edu), if you wish to engage in any other work during your stay. (See information on “incidental employment.”)

  • If offered a comparable position at another college or university, discuss your plans with the J-1 RO to make sure that the required transfer procedure can be accomplished.

Comply with the mandatory Department of State health insurance requirements for J-1 visa holders and their families. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of your program and your J-1 status.

Keep your passport valid. Passports can be renewed by your consulate in Los Angeles. For information about the nearest consulate check http://www.embassy.org

Extension of Stay

To request an extension of your J-1 status up to the maximum period allowable under the regulations, you must bring a letter signed by the supervising faculty member stating the proposed dates of the extension and the amount and source of the funding to the Office of International Scholar Relations. The J-1 RO/ARO will prepare a new DS-2019 reflecting the extended period. Your request for an extension must be requested at least 45 days in advance and completed before the end date as noted on your DS-2019 form.

Transfer of J-1 Program

An International Scholar may transfer to another university provided the scholar is continuing the same research program indicated in Section 4, Subject/Field Code on the DS-2019 form. The J-1 RO/ARO will verify your immigration status and program eligibility, prepare a DS-2019 form and you must secure the written release of the current sponsor in Section 8 of the new Form DS-2019. Program transfers for professors or research scholars must be effected from within the U.S. and within the five years allowed to International Scholars in these categories. The transfer procedures must be completed prior to the end date as noted on the form DS-2019.

Incidental J-1 Employment

J-1 scholars are expected to conduct the exchange activity at the location(s) listed on the DS-2019 form. Additional employment is not permitted, unless the proposed employment is incidental to the activity listed on the DS-2019 form and is pre-approved by the J-1 RO/ARO.

J-2 Dependents

The spouse and/or minor children (21 or under) of a J-1 visiting scholar hold a J-2 visa status. The J-1 must show sufficient finances to support the additional expense for family members to come to the U.S.


  • may enroll in a full or part-time course of study,
  • may apply for authorization for employment from the USCIS, costs $380, 60-90 day processing time,
  • all are required to have health insurance that meets U.S. Department of State regulations,
  • are subject to the two year home residency requirement if the J-1 is subject.

Additional Information

The information on this page is only a brief overview. The following links will provide additional detailed information:

If you cannot find the information you need in these areas, please email J1Program@westernu.edu for additional information.

Updated August 2015